The UFC heads to Singapore on Saturday for a somewhat underwhelming fight card. In terms of betting, I’ve found a few spots I like and here are my breakdowns of the fights where I have action.
Raphael Pessoa vs. Jeff Hughes
Heavyweight has never been the most skilled division in mixed martial arts, and there have been some questionable big men who’ve made their way to the UFC. I want to be as respectful as possible when I say this, but I just don’t know how Raphael Pessoa earned himself a contract to fight on the world stage.
This dude is the sloppiest of sloppy brawlers. He has no striking fundamentals and loads up on everything he throws. Of course, you can have success on the regional scene if you’ve got thunder in your hands – but he’s no longer fighting part-timers.
Apparently Pessoa has extensive jiu-jitsu experience, but I’ve seen no evidence in his fights. Furthermore, Jeff Hughes is a tough guy to take down, so I don’t think the Brazilian’s ground game will be a factor.
Training with Stipe Miocic at Ohio’s legendary Strong Style camp, Hughes is a solid UFC heavyweight. There is nothing remarkable about him, but he has decent boxing, can wrestle and possesses a granite chin.
This isn’t the most technical breakdown, but I’ll just say Hughes is unambiguously the superior fighter. I think the American can win a boxing match or take Pessoa down and pound him out.
I’m pleased with my early action on Jeff Hughes at -180. I feel he should be a much bigger favorite.
Maurice Greene vs. Sergei Pavlovich
Standing 6’7 with an 82-inch reach, Maurice Greene is a monolithic heavyweight. A supremely aggressive striker, Greene attacks with all eight limbs and is looking to take you out early.
While undoubtedly dangerous, he is wild and reckless. He overextends on punches, leaves his hands low and is susceptible to counters. Like a lot of fighters that are used to having a height and reach advantage over their opponents, Greene is defensively vulnerable if you can get on the inside.
While Greene is absolutely capable of winning this fight by knockout, I feel Sergei Pavlovich is a rough stylistic match-up for him.
Not only does Pavlovich have a reach advantage, he’s got the sharper boxing and faster hands. The Russian throws hooks and uppercuts with bad intentions as well as deadly knees in the clinch.
I think the fight will start off competitively, but sooner or later Greene is going to eat a bomb and get slept (something similar to this).
I don’t usually bet on heavyweight shootouts like this, but I felt Sergei Pavlovich was fully deserving of his -197 price tag.
Frank Camacho vs. Beneil Dariush
Once known as a crazy brawler, it seems Frank “The Crank” Camacho is finally putting it all together. Instead of coming out swinging bombs and blocking punches with his face, the Guam native put on a much more technical and mature performance in his last bout against Nick Hein.
Training at Team Oyama, it seems the coaching staff did their homework on Hein – instructing Camacho to mix his boxing with repetitive right kicks to the body (Hein stands southpaw).
Now fighting another southpaw in Beneil Dariush, I expect Camacho to implement a similar game plan while relying on his extensive wrestling background to keep the fight upright.
While Dariush is best known for his high level ground game and lethal submissions, he’s become incredibly well-rounded over the years training at Kings MMA. He’s comfortable wherever the fight takes place and is the superior technician in this match-up.
The big question mark with Dariush is his chin. Having been on the wrong side of two of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history as well as getting wobbled numerous times in his last fight with Drew Dober, I suspect Dariush is packing glass.
In fact, he’s lucky Dober decided to grapple with him instead of disengage and strike – because he was getting the worst of the exchanges on the feet.
I believe Camacho’s takedown defense holds up, which means we’re probably in for a kickboxing match. While Dariush may have the advantage at kicking range, a fire fight certainly favors Camacho due to his durability.
Personally I would cap Frank Camacho as a slight favorite, so I’m happy with my action on him at +140.
Demian Maia vs. Ben Askren
Two of the UFC’s best grapplers (and worst strikers) lock horns this weekend in an interesting main event contest. Considering the strengths and weaknesses of both fighters, it’s difficult to envision how this one will play out.
In my opinion, Demain Maia is the best jiu-jitsu fighter to ever compete in MMA. His positional awareness is paranormal and he has elite chain wrestling to compliment his ground skills. Maia is so skilled on the mat that he makes black belt opponents look clueless.
With that being said, the Brazilian is now 41-years-of-age and was never a cardio machine. For once he will have a striking advantage over an opponent, but I question how he will handle a five round main event in this stage of his career if he can’t get an early submission.
A former Olympian in freestyle wrestling, Ben Askren is a high level MMA grappler himself. While the entries into his takedowns are quite bad, he’s a tenacious beast once he gets his hands on you.
He’s not a lay and pray type of grappler either. From top position he will threaten with submissions and mix in ground strikes, although it remains to be seen how much success he’ll have against Maia on the mat.
Askren’s striking is truly atrocious, which makes this fight intriguing. This might be the first time a fighter will actually attempt to shoot takedowns on Maia.
Will Maia be able to threaten with submissions off his back or perhaps sweep Askren? What happens if Maia blows his gas tank after the first two rounds and Askren is still fresh? Could Maia actually take down the Olympic wrestler? Could we be in for the worst kickboxing match of all time?
I have no idea the answers to these questions, but I’m looking forward to finding out!
With a gun to my head I would pick Ben Askren to win – but I don’t recommend betting this fight.
My Main Plays
- 2 units on Jeff Hughes at -180
- 3 units on Sergei Pavlovich at -197
- 1 unit on Frank Camacho at +140
If I have action on the upcoming Bellator 131 and 132 cards, I will send out my plays via email.